“Yolande was fitting the tea cozy over the pot when I came in. There were cups on the table. I knew where her cookie plates lived, so I got one down and put my offerings on it: chocolate chip hazelnut, Jamdandies, Cashew Turtles, plus butterscotch brownies and half a dozen muffins.”
For the inaugural baked good, a lot of friends and family were eager to encourage a hobby that would keep them in sugary treats for months. Most still have no idea (and no intention of understanding) what “that book” is about, but flour and butter and sugar is the universal sign for yum, which means for this first post, I have lots of help.
My friend Laura and my cousin Jo want to help me kick start this. Jo’s cuter-than-a-button-covered-in-jam daughter would be sampling the results so I wanted to start with something kid and fun-friendly. The First Dessert? *drumroll* Jamdandies.
It’s also one of the Class 4 Don’t Know What It Is desserts, which allows me to play around a little. As I’ll be doing this a lot, I’ve come up with some “rules”.
The Kinda Incontrovertible Tenants of Making Up Recipes:
1. It must be delicious.
This is really an all-encompassing life rule.
2. It shouldn’t be too fussy.
In theory, these are recipes that one person could make for a whole coffeehouse. Individual chocolate typography is not going to happen.
3. From scratch as often as possible.
If you make it yourself, it’s going to be better. Icing from a jar will taste like icing from a jar. That said, store bought jam or vanilla extract is much more practical than starting the canning process or 2 months of staring at a vanilla bean in a jar (in a dark cupboard).
4. WWSD (What Would Sunshine Do?)
The first and last resort question of every recipe.
So with those tenants firmly in mind, what in a baker’s dozen is a Jamdandy?
Judging by the name and the contextual quote, it’s a jam-related cookie. Since Sunshine is one of those practical baker types, I’m thinking it’s her version of a fancy-fied jam-related cookie–which to me refers to something in the family of those thumbprint jam shortbread Knott’s Berry Farm staples. Dandifying this childhood classic can really only happen in two places: the ingredients or the appearance. Let’s go with both ‘cuz why not?
Cleaner and smaller is as much effort as a coffeehouse baker would go through to inject class into a cookie. Here’s where it gets kid-friendly: tiny cookie cutters!
Since my usual method of baking cookies involves blobs and chunks and impatience, these things have not seen the light of day since I bought them. There was quite a bit of box and bag opening to find ’em pretty as a picture with their stickers still on, no dough stuck under the metal lip, no corners bent out of place.
Shortbread is already pretty fancy, but there are ways to kick it up a notch. For the cookies you can play with the dough AND the jam. Combo recommendations: Raspberry Jam with Vanilla Bean Cookies, Cherry Jam with Almond Extract Cookies, and Blueberry Ginger Jam with plain Shortbread. So here we go!
Jamdandies: Attempt 1
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for decoration)
For Raspberry Vanilla Bean
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod
1/3 cup raspberry jam
For Cherry Almond
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cherry jam
For Blueberry Ginger (or other Fancy Jam)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup blueberry ginger jam